Originally Posted by SinCrisis
Not sure where to put this since it does relate to fish but is an opinion based thread, not a help thread or anything.
I was wondering what people on this forum, who love fish and fish keeping, think about feeder fish. Is it not cruel to breed fish for the purpose of killing them? Of course there are tons of benefits to feeding live food to fish also.
Every time i walk into a petstore that has feeder fish, I see this big tank, full of fish and i think to myself, wow, it must suck to live in that environment all your life and then get put into another tank with a huge fish that chases you and then kills you.
I just feel like its an ironic situation and wanted to know what others think about it. Like if anyone agrees that it is a cruel practice or can present arguments for the other side so people like me can understand this practice better.
My bigger issues with common "feeder fish" is that most of them a) are nutritionally deficient and b) are disease vectors.
I have no problem with the raising of feeder animals - I culture daphnia, whiteworms, grindal worms, microworms, redworms, and snails all to feed my fishes, and I also buy crickets, mealworms, etc. In the past I've bred convicts for the sole purpose of using the young fry to feed wild caught native fishes that had not yet been weaned on to frozen foods. I've kept a number of fishes for whom a diet in fresh live worms etc is a key trigger to breeding. I've also kept the occasional big hungry fish to feed my culled fry to.
All that being said -
a) goldfish and "rosey reds" (or "tuffies") carry high levels of thiaminase, which destroys vitamin B (thiamin) in the predator.
b) Freshwater feeders of any sort are lacking in needed fatty acids for marine predators and should not be fed to marine fishes
c) a typical LFS "feeder fish" is generally loaded with parasites or pathogenic microbes - would you feed your dog raw, wormy, moldy meat ?
d) finally - and most often overlooked in my mind - a huge % of the fish you see in the hobby are NOT obligate piscavores and in the wild rarely if ever consume fish.
Gut content analysis of wild fishes has shown that many of the fishes we are stuffing full of goldfish DO NOT EAT FISH in the wild - Oscars ( most "aggressive" cichlids for that matter), for example are omivores that eat mostly inverts and plants - snails, shrimps, worms, insect nymphs, crayfish, etc are their main foods. Piranha's are a great example of scale and fin eaters that normally don't eat whole fish in the wild.
If you keep some of the few rare fishes that really need fresh live fish in their diet (or as a stepping stone to frozen or dry foods) - it's in your fishes best interest for you to breed and raise your own feeders (swordtails, mollies, platies, guppies, etc) in carefully controlled conditions and gut-load your feeder fishes with high quality foods. So - why do we feed them "feeders", if feeders are bad for them ?
If its because we want to "see them kill" - maybe we some introspection. How much of a difference is there between making one fish kill another and making one dog kill another ? Does "entertainment" justify either action ? Are we just moronic thugs ala Micheal Vick, or are we compassionate human beings ?
Or is it just because we don't know any better ?
If we keep doing it after we learn how bad it is for our fishes - then aren't we back to being moronic thugs who get pleasure from another's pain ?